Key Characteristics

Cows are fertile, long lived and very maternal. Cows are good mothers and are capable of producing calves well into their teens. They are docile and easily managed. The breed is also hardy and capable of out wintering in most condition.

  • Animals are a medium size, with cows weighing about 550-600kg and bulls 800-900kg
  • The typical animal should have an outer coat of creamy/white soft hair and a thick mossy undercoat.
  • The head should be of a medium length with a good wide muzzle and bold bright eyes.
  • It is most important that legs and feet should be sound.


  • The origin of the Whitebred Shorthorn is not known but it is a separate breed from the other types of Shorthorn and first came to prominence over 100 years ago when it was known as the Cumberland White.
  • One of the early pioneers of the breed was Mr David Hall who sold blue-grey coloured suckled calves at Newcastleton Auction in the 19th century. These calves were Whitebred Shorthorn x Galloway and in time they became a recognized crossbred known as BlueGreys.
  • The breeding of the Whitebred Shorthorn continued to grow in popularity until in 1961 the Whitebred Shorthorn Association was formed.
  • When the continental beef breeds were introduced Whitebred Shorthorn numbers declined dramatically and it is now one of our rarest breeds of cattle.


Whitebred Shorthorn bulls are often used to produce high quality suckler cows that are hardy enough to survive on the uplands of the UK. Although the Blue Grey (Whitebred Shorthorn x Galloway) is the most well known cross, the Whitebred Shorthorn x Highland is increasingly popular.

The Whitebred Shorthorn is a good choice for upland management and requires little in the way of supplementary feeding. One advantage is the white colour makes the cattle easy to spot.

Did you know?

The Whitebred Shorthorn's most well known use is in producing Blue Greys. Bluegreys are an F1 (first generation) cross between a Whitebred Shorthorn and a Galloway. Due to hybrid vigour, this F1 cross does very well but both breeds must be maintained separately in order for the cross to work well. 

Breed Societies

For more information visit Whitebred Shorthorn Association